Medallion quilt

D63962AE-5D55-4AB0-A84C-6B57C8A998F8Maths is not a popular subject in my house. None of my children enjoy it and maths teaching is very variable to put it mildly. We were ecstatic if not surprised when no. 1 son passed his maths GCSE but the twins are still going through the grind of learning what they need to to get this qualification . The most common complaint is they can never imagine an occasion in their future when they are going to need to use geometry, solving simultaneous equations, trigonometry  etc etc.  Well I can now say that in the highly unlikely circumstance of them having to design a medallion quilt then their maths could eventually be of use to them.

I had four blocks too many left over  from this quilt of Siblings Together Bee 4. (For more on this wonderful charity see the tab above).

17A6357B-E6B3-4001-AE3A-5360F9BF19F8 I picked out blue and green ones and they became the centre of a medallion quilt. It struck me that rather than randomly make blocks for the next layer I needed to think about size and dimension and make to order.

Out came the graph paper and pencil and on the basis that the centre measured 24” by 24” I decided if the blocks were either 3” or multiples of 3” then I couldn’t go wrong. Well that was an ambitious thought but with much reworking and playing with sizes I got to a workable design. Of course the complication is the significant difference between the size you have to cut versus the finished size  allowing for seams.

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It was a fun make.  Some pleasant mindless sewing of flying geese and then the plus block.  Assembling it was a bit more nerve wracking seeing whether my maths worked or more correctly whether the assembled pieces were precisely pieced to make the required length.  Well with a bit of tugging we got there. So thanks to the ladies of ST Bee 4 for their patience in using their blocks and special thanks to a Helen @themagpiecat who kindly offered to make two corner units,  it got done.

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I decided that it called for some free motion quilting.  It was time consuming not so much doing the negative space but stitching in the ditch of all the pieced units. Took me hours and hours. It helped having this sawn off ankle!  I’d seen on Karin’s blog  The Quilt Yarn  about a modified ankle which made visibility better. This is for the Pfaff 4.2 QE. in effect as you can see from the pictures it cuts off the bit to which you attach the foot which isn’t needed when FMQing. Not the cheapest of ankles as it had to come from the US  but worth it. You can see in the second picture how much the normal ankle obscures things when you are quilting backwards.

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So another quilt towards the 100 we need this year. Every quilt counts.

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Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts 

Breaking out the Outback Wife

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For those who read this post without background knowledge of quilting fabrics then the title must be mystifying if not, on humanitarian grounds, potentially alarming!  But for those who do follow fabric then you will know that this is a fabric range called Outback Wife in bark cloth by the Australian designer Gertrude Made inspired  by women she met in the Outback  (quite literally – this one is called Kirsten). That of itself isn’t unusual, fabric designers take inspiration where they can find it, but what was more unique was shamelessly going for a vintage feel in using bark cloth and some beautiful and unusual designs in a large print florals.

It got a lot of attention and despite the eye watering price at £27 per metre it caught on amongst dress makers and quilters. I resisted but gave in and bought a metre decrying it was the most expensive fabric purchase of my life. So it would take a special project to make me break it out and cut it up and thanks to a Sew Along for Aneela Hoey’s book Stitched Sewing Organisers I found one. 

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Bold and Brave Quilt

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I am neither bold nor brave but that was the title of Kim Lapacek’s Project Quilting challenge. This is a challenge set every couple of weeks for the first couple of months of the year to make a quilt on a given theme in a week. In fairness it doesn’t have to be a quilt, just a quilted item. Nevertheless the challenge of doing it in a week rarely fits in with my life but I always check the theme as to whether it sparks anything.

An example from last year was the theme best dressed man and I chose to make this mini quilt  out of my late husband’s ties. It is hanging above me as I type.

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Three things sparked me this time. I’d seen an IG post from @mrsterritee of 3 beautiful quilts using Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts Big Nines design she had made, with the help of her Bee, for the charity Siblings Together (see tab above) .  It was a bold and graphic design perfect for an older teen/young adult. Almost immediately after, I saw a post from Jo Avery @mybearpaw of Thread House fame about Social Bite, a project for homeless people in Edinburgh. Her husband, Jonathon Avery, coming off the back of his experience of designing ‘tiny houses’ has developed a two person dwelling and a number of them are being built on donated land to help transition people without homes into eventually permanent housing.  If you a key player in this initiative  and you are married to one of the country’s best known quilters then you can bet your bottom dollar that quilts will  be found in these houses. To that end Jo was asking for quilt donations. So my bold and brave quilt was born, bold because I chose bright, bold colours (quite the change for me) and brave doing a quilt in a week with a fairly full schedule.

Well I think both paid off.  I grabbed my teens before they headed off to school to advise me on colours from my solids. This was going to be my first ever solids only quilt. So I was left with these….. a quick trip to The Cotton Patch my local quilting shop to gather more quantities of the colours we had chosen and I was away….

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It is a quick and easy design. Lots of chain piecing and so perfect for  giving Winnie, our new addition to my sewing family,  a workout.

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In fact aside from the quilting, which given its size and the tiny throat of the Featherweight wasn’t practical, everything was sewn on Winnie. It was a good learning experience.  The spool doesn’t hold masses so that had to be redone a number of times.  The tension went wonky and I then realised I hadn’t threaded the bobbin correctly  and so on. The seam guide above was excellent for accuracy as I’d found without it the very silky surface of the machine allowed a lot of movement as you sewed. The  honeymoon isn’t over yet….

While the blocks were done in a day, as we all know, deciding on the layout of the top, sewing the top, then basting, quilting and binding can take up at least as long.  I sewed into the nights as you can see in this picture…

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And I won’t say how long I sewed into the early hours to get the bulk of the binding done. Of course the house is a mess and I’m not sure my children will have enough clean clothes for the weekend but it’s done. Sigh. Not sure I will be racing to do this again!

But I’m pleased with it and its big enough at 80″ long for a tall person.  I found working with solids in some ways quite straightforward but they are unforgiving, no pattern to disguise a less than perfect wonky seam. Having had a fling with AGF’s Pure Elements as a solid I have rather gone back to more conventional, less fine woven Kona and Makower solids.  They have more give and don’t crinkle as much.

The pictures were taken in my parents London garden. They have this lovely brick wall but no way of securing it but its a wonderful backdrop. If the wall lived with me I’d rig something up but on a cold windy February afternoon the quilt being draped over the wall had to do, just prior to falling to the floor!

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The quilt was too big even for my 6’ Dad to hold unaided so we roped in the neighbour’s fence as well. Typically just as we put up the quilt the wind picked up and you can see the over sized peg flying off.

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I hope it fits the bill and provides someone with warmth as they start on the next phase of  a more settled and happier chapter of their lives. I’m looking forward to more updates as this project progresses.

 

 

A new addition to the family

No not a new baby……heaven forfend…. my new addition is this beautiful Singer Featherweight which I found on EBay and went to collect last week.

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I have to say, casting back four years, I would have been utterly horrified at this purchase. Why have something so old when you have perfectly decent modern machines with all their gadgetry. But you know how these things gradually creep under your skin and your opinions start to change as you see other people sew on them and appear delighted with their ancient sewing machines and their performance.

A couple of years back I had the opportunity of having this sewing machine which had been long disused in my mother in law’s house having belonged to her mother-in-law. I was tempted but what  put me off was that it was handcranked and you must believe me I need every hand going to ensure accurate seams!  It was also incredibly heavy and bulky and I could just see it being abandoned as it had been by my mother-in-law. If I change my mind it’s still in my sister in-law’s garage.

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Having done some research and deciding that something neat, compact and light was what I wanted the obvious choice was the Singer Featherweight. Tens of thousands of these were produced both in the UK and America between 1933 and 1960s and proved very  popular. So they are not rare or hard to come by, particularly this 221K model. There is a more rare 222K which has the benefit of being able to remove the base so that you’ve got a free arm. But essentially they are both the same straightforward mechanical straight stitch machines. Just perfect for piecing.

But in finding one there  are the horror stories of these machines being bought on spec on places like EBay then failing to function very well.  I have absolutely zero ability in anything mechanical. I need things that work first time with no hassle. The general advice was to find a knowledgeable dealer and with a bit of poking around on EBay  I found a seller who, based on his history of many happy buyers of vintage machines, particularly the Featherweight, clearly made restoring sewing machines his job. So for a premium on the price, which I was very happy to pay and in reality wasn’t actually that much, I got a machine that had been fully restored, serviced, new belt, new electrics and LED light.  I wanted the confidence that I wasn’t going to get something which caused hassle and was tricky to use.

I didn’t want to risk it being delivered by a carrier and the vagaries of their handling and he was near enough in the East Midlands to collect it in person. Having seen Philip’s set up I was even more confident.  He obviously loves these machines and takes pride in his workmanship. Of course Winnie (yes she has a name) has scratches and marks but she will have a load more after I have been sewing on her as she is definitely not for show. She will be regularly used and if that means she gets battered and scratched then so be it.

The children were much intrigued by this new acquisition.  There was general agreement it smelled.  I think that’s the case in which it has probably long resided and the cases are notoriously smelly. Apparently something to do with the glue used. Someone on IG suggested putting some tumbler sheets  inside the case and that’s worked well.  It’s smaller than I’d imagined and almost looks like a toy machine. The apple in the picture gives it scale.

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The thing that really amused me was their surprise that it had a motor and plug. I explained at 66 years young she was only a few years older than me. My children genuinely thought that electricity was relatively recent. Well obviously both their schooling and I have failed in their education!

Thanks to some excellent videos on the basics of the machine on the Singer-Featherweight.com website by the delightful 12 year old Ruthie, daughter of the owners, I was up and running in no time. I tell you her video presentation skills put to shame many quilters who post on YouTube during which viewings you might just well lose the will to live! Excepting of course the wonderful Jenny Doan of MQC. Back to the  machine it sews beautifully and so quietly.  I’m rather smitten.

So what have I made with it? Well I did some trial blocks and I noticed that the wonderfully silky smooth finish of the sewing machine meant getting my seam allowance more difficult  I need to work on that but other than that it is, because it’s so basic, easy to sew on. I sewed quite a few curved blocks for a new project

I had every intention of finishing off this sampler pouch of all the blocks I made at the Thread House Retreat last week using the Featherweight. The log burner was lit and after lunch I was settling in for a lazy Sunday afternoon sewing in the lounge when one of the children came down, snuggled up on sofa with a quilt and fell asleep. Well the Featherweight is quiet but not that quiet so I had to use the conventional machines upstairs. Best laid plans….

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I cobbled the idea from one or two others who used their blocks in a similar way. I used Jo Avery’s pattern for her tendrils pouch  but made it slightly larger to accommodate the blocks particularly the kettle. It makes a large pouch perfect for all the sewing paraphernalia you need when sewing from home

I free motion quilted the words which with the help of a light box to trace the letters and then with slow steady sewing it came out alright

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I cheated and used a lino cut of a cat I made at last year’s retreat for an extra block.  As you can see despite Karen Lewis’ excellent teaching I haven’t quite mastered  the art of consistent lino printing…

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The Thread House Retreat Bee for Siblings Together

Welcome to the Thread House Retreat Bee  for Siblings Together.  It was great to meet everyone at the Thread House Retreat and thank you for offering to be part of this Bee! Didn’t we have a great time. Still enjoying all the IG posts of what everyone made or received.

We had such a great response to the appeal we have enough for a new Bee. I’m hoping we may go up to 12 but at the moment we have around 10 as I haven’t heard back from everyone  But to tap into the enthusiasm that is out there I thought we’d get started on making blocks while I make the finishing touches to the rota for this year, in practice until July 2018. I’ve chosen a design that is’nt that block intensive so we should be able to pull this one off together quite quickly.

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So one of the favourite quilts I’ve ever made is this beauty – my first Siblings Together quilt as a monthly mama with Bee 2. There are over 50 fabrics in that quilt. And that’s the magic behind most of our bee quilts, the sheer variety. I don’t normally repeat quilts but this is such a lovely design and I fancied doing it in warm colours this time.

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The pattern is a free one from Cloud 9 fabrics called Field Crossing. Heaven knows why it’s called that but nevertheless the rectangular block shape is a bit different but still a very simple and a quick block with virtually no waste. Apologies for the fact that starting squares are down to eighths”! I did try rounding them up to whole inch squares but there was a lot more trimming – it seems 1/8″ makes more of a difference than you’d think!! But after that it’s pretty straightforward.

As I’ve said I would like warm colours like orange, mustard, plum, terracotta, pink etc please mix it up. And with the background, solid white only preferably a bright white. I found using a full 1/4″ seam was better than a scant one.

To make two blocks you will need the following:

In solid bright white (not cream, fawn etc)

           1 x 6 7/8ths” square cut diagonally and then cut again diagonally to make  4  triangles

In warm colours solids or prints in orange, plum, pink, mustard, terracotta or warm brown

4 x 4 7/8ths” squares cut from 4 different prints or solids  and then cut diagonally to make 2 triangles per square

2 x 4 1/2” squares

 

For the angley challenged like myself I found it really helpful to lay the block out as below then stitch accordingly.

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When sewing the seams line up the pieces where I’ve circled  don’t worry about the dog ears at each end

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Next layout the other triangles and sew the white triangle to the coloured triangle

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When sewing the white and coloured triangle units to the middle unit line up the seams where I have circled

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The finished block trimmed

IMG_6705The finished blocks are a smidgeon over 6″ by 11 3/4″. But don’t worry too much – they will be sashed as you can see from the pattern.

If you could make 2 – 4 blocks I would be very grateful. If you get into the swing then extra blocks are always useful and if I get enough I will make another quilt

Any problems or glaring issues or just a better way to do it please let me know. I’m not a sensitive soul!! But most importantly have fun.

Retreat offerings

 


 

 

 

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Another great retreat was organised by Jo Avery and Karen Lewis  down on Folly Farm, a small conference centre on a nature reserve near Bristol. I’m afraid re-entry into real life is always hard after a relaxing weekend away but I shall relive the highlights so it lasts just a bit longer.

First the swap items….

This year there was a storage pot swap and the usual name tag.

Starting with the name tag, after frankly a disappointing name tag I made for Rachel last year I was determined to improve on that.  It seemed, looking around at the others that those on a lanyard were bigger and offered more scope. This year I was making for Eveline who wasn’t on social media so I couldn’t stalk her so went with a modern style and hoped for the best.  I was more pleased with it this year and she was delighted.

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My own badge is this very sweet and beautifully made lilac and cat concoction made by Jane. A perfect size and design.

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As to the storage pot, I was making for Marianne @marianneoloughlin who I was also rooming with.  She has modern tastes so went with these modern hexies and Caroline Friedlander fabric for the base and scraps of blue on Essex Dyed Linen. I filled it with a few sewing bits and pieces.

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As to my pot I received this beauty….

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There’s a funny story about it. An IG friend I was looking forward to meeting at the retreat was Catrin @patshycatrin. Her full on life with 3 young children and working in the family business means sewing has to take a back seat. Catrin had planned free time the days before to prep for the retreat but family illness took over and that time got swallowed up. An IG post from her saying she doubted she’d be able to make it as she had so much to do led me to offer to make the storage pot which she kindly declined. I realised why when the swap took place because I was the person she was making for and she clearly couldn’t give me back my own storage pot!

Catrin showed this beautiful quilt she made with blocks from a number of us for Siblings Together

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Catrin is happy for me to share the link to the pattern for this great block  here.

All these swap items are so lovely to use and remind you of the talent and generosity of friends. So I was thrilled to receive this beautiful needlecase from Kate @katew131. Kate is hugely talented  and is starting to write and publish patterns. One to watch…

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And finally these three fabric trays for my room mates one of whom @helen_steele_029 has started screen printing and I used her designs for her tray.

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What did we do? Well aside from eat, laugh and socialise there were four workshops  but Jo and Karen were relaxed if you wanted to factor in free sewing so I did just two which worked well for me. Both were with Kerry of @verykerryberry.

One workshop was on small accurate piecing. Kerry was the perfect person as she makes exquisite small blocks. She’s also a very capable teacher and seems to intuitively know when you need help as she toured round the room. Undoubtedly the success of these retreats is down to the hosts and teachers who aside from being very talented are delightful.

Now this was a workshop I needed as I’m not accurate. There were some excellent tips like going forwards, backwards and forwards again when rotary cutting to stop drag, cutting on point for the 4 hst out of two blocks method to avoid bias and using shorter stitches. And my output….. two 6” blocks which took me on average 2 hours each…. so not quick makes….. I used my small liberty stash to go with the trad designs.

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The other workshop was also with Kerry this time on paper piecing of a kitchen three piece. I chose the kettle. If I’m honest I am probably not to complete the others but hope to use the block in some way. But arriving late because of sickness at home with one of the children I enjoyed catching up with others as I slowly pieced this. There is no question that as pleasurable as sewing in company is that it definitely impacts on productivity.

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in terms of free sewing time I got a start on a couple of new projects.

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In amidst all the sewing and chatting being on the doorstep of beautiful walks I couldn’t resist early morning walks and making use of some of the free time for fresh air. The weather wasn’t great but mild and dry enough for some good walks.

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Back in real life it’s great to be home and ensure the children are still alive and as happy as teens can be. They had had to do their own lunch so I arrived to find 3 hungry people and takeouts were definitely the order of the day. I shall get back to the reality of cooking again but first to put everything away if I don’t get too distracted by everything I brought back.

 

Home fires burning.

CDBD6017-C92C-4000-A324-EA66CA9EE5C6.jpegIn these colder months as much as I enjoy sewing, I enjoy being warm and comfortable more. I’m lucky to have a dedicated room for sewing and whilst not massive it’s big enough and works for me.  Best of all I can close the door on the mess! The picture below will cause my mother’s eye brows to rise as it is a complete lie, it virtually never looks like this.

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The problem is the room is chilly and this is not because I leave the velux window open. It does have a large radiator but the room sits under an uninsulated eave and isn’t the most inviting when the log burner is on downstairs in the lounge. Frankly the option of leaving the cosy warmth of that room for a distinctly colder room is not appealing. The solution? Of course to bring the sewing machine downstairs and set it up in the lounge.

I really don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. It was triggered by a friend’s foray into furniture restoration and showing me all the bargains she got from EBay. Admittedly the best bargains were the ones where collection was the only option which of course makes sense. She had bought beautiful chairs, well potentially beautiful in their pre restored state, for a few pounds each.

I figured out that I could fit a console table against the window which would easily accommodate my small Pfaff Passport machine. Well one browse on EBay found a number of options. I wanted a simple, dark finished table but reasonably light in weight so I could move it easily.

Like my friend it wouldn’t bother me to make a reasonable trip to get it but fortunately I found one only 30 minutes drive from Cirencester where I was due for a 90th birthday party. So it all worked out beautifully.

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Its a sweet table. Yes a fair few marks but nothing ghastly and for the princely sum of £16 I really can’t complain. I’d have a whole load more marks if I was over 100 years old!

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I could ask Gill to restore it but there will be that usual tussle over me wanting to pay for her time  and she refusing. Perhaps we could do a swap, I make her something and she does the table. Or more appealing she shows me how it’s done! Either way it can wait. But it does need a cover so the marks don’t get worse. The Passport has a soft base which I don’t think would scratch but there might be friction marks so a sewing mat was needed.

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I had a whole bunch of left over half rectangle blocks from this quilt which lives in that room. It was a no brainer  to use them and making up four diamonds and it was almost big enough. A scrappy border and the top was finished, just the quilting to do.

 

Let’s admit some parts of quilting are boring with times filled with endless sewing and manoeuvring of fabric, particularily at the quilting stage. This table runner is one such example not helped by the close quilting I wanted I knew it was going to be a long job. It was not helped by being backed by headliner fabric, a thin foam material used for lining the interior roofs of cars. It’s quite firm but flexible. It gives  good stability for the finished article  but of course is more difficult to handle when sewing. But having the opportunity to sit in the warmth and catch up on television made for a very pleasant evening. I’d been recommended the US drama Homeland many, many times but was daunted by just quite how many hours of television that meant watching but it was a perfect accompaniment. Good drama, subtitles and a relatively easy but pacy plot was perfect for watching with one eye on sewing the other on the plot.

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Of course it had to be inspected by Skye and I’m afraid she found it wanting. I like the cover very much and will use it although only when sewing as I like the dark wood finish but I forgot the lesson I should have learned with this table runner….. wavy borders.

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Thanks to blu tack you can’t see the waves but they are there. I had failed to measure the borders and precisely add them. The same with this table runner I chose to preserve the points of the diamonds rather than precisely put on the border. I’m midst a medallion quilt which is entirely borders really  I must remember this lesson!

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Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts

Triple pouch – a lesson in humility

C4BCE8D7-D159-4DDF-877E-A6BBEA7EE415if I’m honest I have more zipped pouches than I could possibly make use of in many life times….. then why make another? Well there is the challenge of a different design, particularly this rather clever 3 pouches in one, there’s also the fun of joining in with a group of enthusiasts who are working their way through each project in Aneela Hoey’s book sewing Stitched Sewing Organisers and for me the best outcome is a finished handmade item I can gift. And I have a 90th birthday coming up, not my own although at times living with 2 teens and a 20 year old, institutional life like that of this lady in her beautiful and comfortable residential care home has its appeal. No cooking for a start.

Gifting a pouch like this solves that problem of finding a present for a person who already has more than enough but when you feel you can’t turn up empty handed. I’m fully expecting her to gift the pouch to a younger member of her large family but it is the thought that counts.

And that leads me on to the conundrum of saying it is handmade by me.  I have no problems in actually owning up to it, it’s just that neither do I want to appear to highlight the fact as if I’m seeking additional thanks.

I’m in this position with this pouch I gave a dear friend for whom her labrador is her world.

img_5071It was a Christmas present so she’d have opened it with her family but something she said the last time we met suggested she thought I was ‘clever to find it’. Now that would have course been the perfect time to say actually it was stencilled and made by me specifically for her but it was a comment she made mid stream another story and I just couldn’t return to it without me appearing needy and requiring approbation! The knots we get ourselves into…… of course the answer is to get some little handmade tags like these but then it’s an extra job sewing them on…

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Anyway back to this pouch, the Sew Along on IG for projects from this book gives advice and tips, well sadly not enough advice and tips to steer me successfully to a finished triple pouch. Making another triple pouch sits with a number of other things I will never do again which includes pot holing  and western country dancing. The former is just plain terrifying and the latter I was such a miserable failure!!

Now I’m not blaming the instructions or diagrams, admittedly there could be more of the latter  and I prefer pictures to hand drawn diagrams. Indeed I’ve succesfully done a number of makes by Aneela Hoey but not this one. The advice was just to do exactly what the instructions said and I still think I did that  but obviously not as intended because when I turned it out for the magical reveal I found I’d got 5 internal pockets not 3 and…

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…. and the two outside pieces weren’t attached to the zip

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Now I certainly hadn’t got the will to unpick and retrace my steps partly because I then re read the instructions and I still couldn’t see where it went wrong and of course I went wrong twice. I know I’m not good at seeing how things fit together and was always appalled if the children had toys with multiple parts to assemble. But I haven’t been sewing as long as I have not to learn a bodge or two. So a few minutes later and the zip was properly secured and having 5 pouches is fine!  OK the zip ends are a bit more bumpy than they should be but this one I’m keeping and in fact will be taking it to Thread House Retreat to compare with a friend’s who clearly did get it right.  This does of course mean I’ve got to go for plan B for that birthday present I need. Next time I’m sticking to Svetlana Sotak’s Devon pouch.

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Q4 FAL wrap up and Q1 FAL targets

So Q4 turned out to be quite productive and out of 7 items 5 got finished. In fact if you allow for the one that got done in the first few days of the New Year that takes it to an all time record of 6 out of 7!!

Here’s the usual montage and links back to the posts.

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1. Lake Cabin Quilt

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2. Sewing Folio

 

3. Bow tie quilt

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4. Soulful quilt

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5. Project bags

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6. Hourglass quilt 3

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7. Fail…..

 

So to Q1. Oddly I don’t seem to have as many long term WIPs waiting to be done as I thought which is probably a good thing. I have plenty of things I’d like to have a go at and new projects in mind but they are not covered by the Finish Along which is targeted at projects on the go and not a twinkle in your eye.

This is my montage…

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In more detail

1. Using 4 left over blocks from when I was Mama for Siblings Together Bee 4 (ST) as the start point for a medallion quilt

2. I’ve partly cut out a triple pouch from Aneela Hoey’s new book.

3. I recently made a coin quilt to use up blue scraps. I’ve a fair few strips left over and again they will form the foundation of a quilt for ST.

4. I came across this beautiful paper pieced block during a sort out. It is wasted sitting in a project bag so I plan to make it into a table topper for Jennifer who collects items for the children who come over from Chernobyl for a holiday to take back as presents.

5. Inspired by a free Irish Chain type quilt pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop and the fact I have thin strips of scraps galore this is the start of a baby quilt.

6. And my oldest WIP. It’s appeared before in these montages and I really don’t know why I don’t get it finished but this quarter I will. Guaranteed, if only to stop me from having to trail back through thousands of photos to find the image to include in the montage!!  It will also provide a welcome relief from all those blues/green quilts

7.  And some left over quarter log cabin blocks for another quilt for ST.

My Soulful Quilt

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My favourite room in the house is our lounge. It’s not grand or particularly big and it’s certainly not stylish, filled as it is with an eclectic assortment of furniture from a cheap IKEA cabinet to a 1990’s music system which is  never used. But it’s a place that’s relaxing and where as a family we gather when my teens venture out of their rooms, having raided the kitchen first of course.  Although if I’m honest the biggest draw isn’t so much my company as the log burner, the best home improvement I’ve ever done. The room has a resident quilt but in the words of no 2 son it’s too thin and too small and that was when he was a foot shorter! It’s the quilt below, a lovely design by Lunden Quilts.

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So a new larger and warmer quilt was needed. And I’m hopeful with this new quilt no one will be complaining! Although they are teens so they will….

The room has a terracotta rug chosen by my late husband which I love and will see me out. So everything colour wise is geared round that and it makes for a warm look.  But it’s not the most popular choice of colour for modern quilting fabrics. Last year, however, a range called Soulful by the talented and prolific designer Maureen Cracknell  came out. Just the perfect colours of apricot, reddish terracotta and complementary warm neutrals.

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The problem was no one in the U.K. stocked it or at least anything like the full range. But I had the bright idea of ordering it to arrive at our holiday destination in the US. Well Hawthorne Threads, or probably their carrier, did us proud as we were staying at a remote ranch in the Rockies that’s only open in the summer. But it was waiting for us. I wish I’d ordered more as US prices are so much cheaper.

Now I know many quilters avoid using complete ranges prefering to mix and match but I wanted an harmonious collection of fabrics and certainly don’t have the skills to get this sort of blend of colours and tones. In fact there is another fabric from a different range snooked in there, Wonderland by Pat Bravo. I wanted the scrappy look but there’s only one cream neutral in Soulful so I wanted another to blend in.

I particularly like Maureen’s fabric designs. She tends to have warmer palettes which in my multi beige home go well. This is a mini quilt using her Fleet and Flourish range.

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As to design I decided to use my Accuquilt half rectangle die. So easy, so accurate  and makes sewing up the blocks a cinch to the point you don’t even need to trim them as the dies cut off the corners so no dog ears and the sizes are spot on.

It is an expensive bit of kit at c £250 and the dies £30 plus but for a stress free quilt you can’t beat it. I know some guilds buy one as a shared resource.

One quilter who recently bought one was expressing on her blog her disappointment that she hadn’t got the dies to cut for a particular quilt design. I think with respect that’s the wrong approach with an Accuquilt.  The die sizes are what they are, so unless you buy them all and that would be very, very expensive, then your design needs to start with what size dies you have. This quilt is a perfect example. I wanted a quick and straightforward sewing project for a quilt destined for a friend’s child but eventually it went to the collection of quilts for Grenfell Tower. With accurate sewing and helpful notches these drunkard path blocks needed no trimming. Such a time saver.

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I searched around for some half rectangle designs and settled on this one by Melissa of Happy Quilting. The multiple pegs are because we had Storm Eleanor passing through and underfoot it’s a quagmire.

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As its been such such an easy make I’ve just been plugging away at it for the last 3 or 4 months. It’s been an easy one to pick up and drop as something else comes along. But this quilt is supposed to be keeping us warm and January and February are often the coldest months. It has a wool batting and a flannel backing and feels very cosy.  So having had the top finished a couple of weeks back I grasped the nettle after Christmas and finished the quilt. It has a wool batting and a flannel backing and feels very cosy. This one certainly has some heft to it and having had it draped over me for a couple of hours, as I stitched down the binding, it’s definitely warm. I bet we now have the warmest January and February on record….

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Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social, Kelly from My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts..